Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

An Under-eighteen Organic Education

Schools are in need of reform.

Firstly, they require a different sort of curriculum. A broader curriculum in which the arts are seen as important as the sciences. Even though the two have to be split for practical purposes, they are actually interconnected. Which is proved by the simple truth that we are ruled by the mind as well as the body.

Our current way of doing things, however, lets us believe that we are predominantly heady or rational beings. The average scientist is held in much higher regard than the typical artist. Consequently, we are losing access to dimensions of intelligence that are not intellectual. A professor who can’t dance is a tragedy. But we aren’t taught to feel that way. Losing your ability to play is seen as an essential part of growing up. By focusing on academic ability, our schools label underachievers as unintelligent and crank out sterile workers who lack the capacity for everyday living.

An educational program that engages its students from more than one angle gives everybody the chance to blossom and share their beauty with the world.

A holistic education also requires another view of teaching. Our prevailing idea of teaching views the best teacher as a living embodiment of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Teaching, however, is more than passing on information. The essence of teaching consists of putting kids into curious and challenging situations so that they can learn on their own. This isn’t to say that children don’t have to learn boring things, only that they have greater freedom in following their interests. A good teacher nurtures the soil and has faith that the seed will grow.

Lastly, a broader curriculum brings a different idea of evaluation. All forms of education require students to be evaluated. Without assessment, there is no way of measuring progress and comprehension. But this doesn’t mean that everything has to be graded. While well-intentioned, grading teaches students to comply with somebody else’s standard. Once the student understands how to meet that norm, his interest diminishes and learning stops. After all, if creativity and self-exploration isn’t necessarily rewarded, why do it?

This doesn’t mean to say that public schooling isn’t an impressive achievement. But if learning and continual growth is the goal, we need to reconsider how we educate our kids.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach